Brockley Bites: Gastrocharity special


The lovely people at the Honor Oak pub are teaming up with local charity the 999 Club to open its doors to local homeless people and those in need on Christmas Day. They're asking for donations of warm clothes, food and practical essentials and would love to hear from anyone interested in coming along to volunteer on the day.

Please contact

Blaggers Banquet

Local foodie bloggers, Ben Bush and Hollowlegs, are involved with a delicious charity initiative called Blaggers Banquet. There's a culinary auction going on right now - click here for more.

Ofsted gives Chelwood Nursery School outstanding rating

Chelwood Nursery School, St Norbert Road, is one of six Lewisham schools highlighted as being outstanding in the latest Ofsted annual report, according to COI News.

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

In a move that is surely entirely unrelated to the forthcoming general election, Brockley’s MP Joan Ruddock has written to constituents asking for their views on a wide range of issues.
She’s asking us to tell her ‘what is good and what is not so good about living in Brockley’, and poses a number of specific questions.
These include:

- What do you think about the new Brockley Station approach, and what further improvements would you like to see?

- What is the biggest anti-social issue you face, from the following?:
Aggressive begging
Dog mess
Litter / fly-tipping
Street drinkers
Other (please state)

- What is the one thing you would do to improve Brockley?

We're sure BC readers have strong views on these questions, and we too would be delighted to hear them!

Anyone who hasn’t received the Freepost feedback form from Ms Ruddock can send her their views on these issues via email
at ruddockj
Or write to her at the House of Commons, London SW1A 0AA

I Spy: Slothful Sunday edition

As ever, the question for our eagle-eyed readers is: Whereabouts in Brockley is this piece of art?

Riverside South boosts Lewisham's future

Riverside South will create demand for homes in Lewisham

One of the world's leading banks, JP Morgan, has submitted a revised planning application for its new Canary Wharf HQ, signalling that the project is almost certain to proceed beyond the foundation construction which has been underway for over a year.

Riverside South is Europe's largest office development, providing 3m square feet to house JP Morgan's London employees. It means thousands more jobs will move to Canary Wharf and should trigger a rash of other developments in the area, including hotel and residential buildings. In short, it means the next wave of the expansion of Canary Wharf will proceed. Although work has been underway for some time, the developer's stated plan was to complete the foundations before confirming that it would proceed with the superstructure.

Many of Lewisham's most important development projects are predicated on the ongoing development of the Wharf, creating growing demand for housing along the route of the DLR. Brockley's organic growth is also being fuelled by the expansion of the Wharf and London Bridge as key employment hubs, dragging the centre of London south and east. The East London Line will dramtically cut commuting times for Canary Wharf workers, from early next year.

At London Bridge, the superstructure for the Shard has recently appeared, meaning that it remains on track to open in 2012, while demolition work to make room for its baby sister "the Gem" [above] has also begun.

Brockley Central Drinks at The Talbot

Last night, the BC Army was unleashed on The Talbot. With scaffolding still on the walls and the tang of fresh paint lingering in the air, Talbot drinkers old and new filled the pub on its opening night.

It's a fairly small pub and the ground floor is dominated by the bar, which confronts you head-on when you walk in. Seating is pushed to either side and in to a few cosy alcoves. Upstairs, the dining room is served by a small bar. Both floors were packed-out, which is a great show of support for a pub, which many feared had been lost forever. The staff were struggling with temperamental cash registers, unlabelled beer taps and a larger-than-anticipated crowd. Despite that, they coped admirably and the service was friendly throughout the evening.

It's too early (and our head hurts too much) to review the pub properly, but we intend to go back for lunch very soon. Frankly, it was a miracle that the pub was open so soon - given the appalling state it had been allowed to deteriorate to by its former owners. At this stage, The Talbot could probably benefit from a bit more detailing - some flourishes that give a bar like Jam Circus real personality. During our brief chat with the proprietor Felix, he mentioned that he was planning on adding some more furniture shortly.

As BC reader "b." said, while he waiting at the bar in an attempt to "treat" us to a shot:

"It looks very south west London. But then I love south west London - I go drinking there all the time."

Were you there last night? What were your first impressions?

Brockley Central Drinks tonight!

We hope to see you tonight at the opening of The Talbot pub, Tyrwhitt Road, from 7pm.

The team has been working round the clock to get the pub ready in time, so the least we can do is turn up and attempt to drink them dry.

For those who haven't been to a BC drinks before, the organisation is so subtle that you could be forgiven for thinking that there is no organisation at all. Just turn up, have a drink and start chatting to people. Come and say hello to Brockley Nick, Brockley Jon and (when she turns up a bit later) Brockley Kate. Or feel free to ignore us - entirely up to you.

Brockley mosaics

Capture Arts is an artist collective based in Brockley and Deptford and the creative team behind the popular Brockley Station mosaic. As part of the same project, they created two mosaics at St Saviour's Church Hall, Brockley Rise.

The mosaics will be formally "opened" (?) by Mayor Bullock on Thursday, December 3rd and the Broca will be providing tea and cakes for the finale event at 11.15am in Coulgate Street.

Everyone welcome.

Gulen hopes to ride the Midnight Meat Train

Will late-night Gulen inspire a work of similar genius from mdotebeats?

Gulen Kebab has applied for a late night license, in order to serve food until 2am Sunday-Thursday and until 3am on Friday and Saturday nights.

The application suggests Gulen is aiming to capitalise on increasing late-night traffic that will accompany the opening the East London Line and the gradual transformation of the area around the station.

Retro fashion fair, November 28th

St Hilda's Undercroft, Crofton Park, will stage a retro fashion fair on Saturday, from 11am until 5pm.

Afternoon tea will be served and Gavin Stamp, the art historian, will be giving a talk.

With thanks to MG.

Brockley's advent windows revealed

Christmas in Brockley starts with Housemartins Estate Agents!

Tea Leaf Arts has now published the list of local businesses taking part in its Advent Windows campaign. During December, art will spring up in shop windows - one a day, leading up to Christmas. It's great to see such a wide range of participating companies, from Starbuck Upholstery and Sids Plumbing to Co-Operative Funeral Service, Central Cafe and Crofton Park Library.

Brockley Station improvements could be brought forward to 2011

Brockley's representative on the London Assembly, Darren Johnson, has enjoyed some early success with his campaign to bring forward the plans to make Brockley Station fully accessible.

TfL has scheduled the work, which would introduce step-free access on both platforms and provide a number of smaller improvements, to be completed by no later than 2015 - two years later than originally hoped. The development of Brockley Common, which created a wheelchair-friendly ramp on the east side of the station, was designed in anticipation of this work.

Johnson is pushing for the timetable to be accelerated, to bring Brockley in to line with some of the other stations along the route of the new East London Line. He told Brockley Central:

"My aim is to get the Mayor and the Department for Transport to reach agreement on bringing it forward to 2011."

Earlier this week, this campaign enjoyed some success, when his question during the Mayor's Question Time, elicited the following response:

"TfL London Rail have made a tranche of bids for Access for All Small Schemes funding for 8 of these [former Southern] stations. These are relatively small scale measures to make the station DDA compliant and would complement the DfT ‘step free’ scheme."

By recognising that this is a relatively small-scale project, the Mayor signalled that there may be some scope to deliver these improvements earlier.

In a statement, Darren Johnson said:

"Local community groups were dismayed to hear that Brockley Station would not be receiving accessibility improvements at the same time as other local stations that have come under the control of TfL. I hope that the Mayor of London and the Department for Transport can work together to ensure Brockley is not left behind."

Brockley Cross measured up

"You have been weighed, you have been measured and you have been found wanting."
- Adhemar, A Knight's Tale

In what world could Brockley Cross possibly be considered a good road layout? The confusing, dangerous and ugly system that encourages flytipping and double parking and frustrates the efforts of Lewisham Council's planners to attract suitable developers to some of Brockley's key sites is finally set to be replaced.

As we reported in September, the Council applied for TfL funding to remodel Brockley Cross, to improve safety and the quality of the public realm.

Today, the surveyors are out in force, taking measurements that will enable them to develop a detailed proposal for Brockley Cross' enhancement. It's very encouraging to see work underway and we hope to bring you more news soon.

Creekside Artists Open Studios, December 4th-6th 2009

Brockley artist Caroline Underwood from Deptford studio collective "Creekside Artists" is helping to organise an open studios event in Deptford next week. She says:

The Open Studio weekend is a chance to explore the working studios of artists and designers exhibiting work in a range of media. Many works are for sale including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, jewellery, T-shirts, shopping bags and greetings cards. The private view on Friday will also feature an exclusive interactive performance by ‘Step Off The Stage’.

The group of artists and designers recently collaborated on a week-long drawing marathon at The Albany, which was selected for the Deptford X programme, featured in the South London Press and filmed for BBC world service as part of their international news coverage of the Big Draw.

In addition to events and group shows outside the studios (the group exhibited at The Menier Gallery earlier this year and are booked for a show in February at the Limelight Gallery) Creekside Artists hold 3 open studio events throughout the year.

Creekside Artists December Open Studios

Friday 4th December - Opening (6:30pm – 9:30pm)
Saturday 5th December (11:30am – 6pm)
Sunday 6th December (11:30am – 6pm)
Creekside Artists
Unit A 110/112/114
Faircharm Studios
London SE8 3DX

Brockley Central Drinks this Friday

Mongol General: What is best in life?
Conan: To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

Last year, one of BC's resident antagonists, Hugh, placed a wager with us about The Talbot pub, Tyrwhitt Road:

"Ten quid says it doesn't re-open in 2009. Five quid says it doesn't re-open before 2011."

If you'd like to discover whether a gentelman's word is as good as his bond, come to The Talbot's opening night for Brockley Central drinks - this Friday, from 7pm.

Whatever happens, we're all winners.

New Cross war memorial to be unveiled

During World War II, V1 and V2 rockets peppered south London, including Brockley, Deptford, Peckham, Nunhead, Lewisham and New Cross. The damage inflicted left a lasting impression on the cityscape and of course the memories of those who lived through the attacks.

The single most deadly rocket attack took place at 12.33pm on November 25th, 1944, when a V2 struck the Woolworth store in New Cross - killing 168 people died and injuring hundreds more.

The BBC archives include an eyewitness account of the destruction caused. Barbara Smith recalled:

It had fallen at the bottom of my road on the Woolworths store in New Cross. As I hurried home I saw many people who were injured, and others were dead and lying on the pavements and in the road. Ambulances and fire engines were parked nearby, attending to the injured and dying. The air was filled with grit and dust. There was a huge crater on the Woolworth site where the V2 had fallen.

Tomorrow, a plaque will be unveiled in memory of those who died. A memorial service will begin at 12.45, St James Church, while the Mayor will unveil the plaque at the site where the bomb landed, at 2.00pm on Goodwood Road (just off New Cross road).

All are welcome.

An earlier memorial plaque was unveiled on the site in 1994.

With thanks to Tamsin, for letting us know.

Oyster roll-out for South East London on January 2nd, 2010

Oyster Pay-As-You-Go will reach Brockley, Ladywell, St John's, Crofton Park and other local stations as part of a city-wide roll-out on January 2nd, 2010, according to a Transport for London press release:

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, Transport Secretary, Andrew Adonis, and the Train Operating Companies serving the capital today confirmed that the hundreds of thousands of passengers who travel on National Rail services within Greater London will be able to use Oyster pay as you go from 2 January 2010.

The news means that South East Londoners will at last start to benefit from cheaper fares we have been promised for some time. The Standard illustrated how a Lewisham commuter would benefit, with a trip to Charing Cross costing £1.70 off-peak and £2.10 peak in January, compared with £2.40 at present.

The Evening Standard adds:

Under the agreement Oyster pay-as-you-go will be accepted on all Greater London services operated by Chiltern, National Express East Anglia, London Midland, First Great Western, First Capital Connect, Southern, Southeastern and South West Trains. Oyster pay-as-you-go will also be accepted on c2c services in Greater London as well as Grays, Chafford Hundred, Purfleet and Ockendon stations in Essex.

Thanks to everyone who alerted us to this story!

The Lewisham Mayor's Business Awards 2010

The Lewisham Mayor's Business Awards 2010 are now open for entries by local companies.

The organisers have added four new categories for this year's awards, including "best pub", "best young apprentice", "best employee" and "enterprise achiever."

Brockley is lucky enough to have some great high street businesses, which we'll be able to vote for in February in the "Who do you love?" category - but there is a growing number of small businesses setting up in the area, including a number that we have profiled in recent months.

Each award is sponsored and there will be a £5,000 cash prize for the overall winner. The deadline to enter is 25 January 2010 and the winners of the Awards will be announced at a ceremony to be held on 11 March 2010 at Blackheath Halls.

For more information on each of the categories visit:

Brockley Central Drinks Presents: The Talbot

It's kinda like a speakeasy kind of thing. It's kinda cool. It's like you're in on some kind of secret. You tell a chick you've been some place, it's like bragging that you know how to find it. The only way you could know where a place is is if someone who knows brought you there. You have to have someone come before. There is a direct line connecting you back to the original, unequivocally cool, club patrons. It's kinda like Judaism...
- Mike, Swingers

Friday, November 27th 2009
7pm onwards
The Talbot, Tyrwhitt Road

We've never dared to try and organise a Brockley Central drinks night on a Friday before, because we're all supposed to have better things to do with ourselves. But then, we've never had the carrot of a sneak preview of the newly-refurbish, long-awaited, heavily-trailed Talbot to offer you before.

Brockley Central veterans may remember the last time we took you to The Talbot, back in May 2008, for a hint of what we hoped was to come. It was an intimate affair, for those people who wanted to learn how a dilapidated but beautiful pub might be restored.

Those plans unfortunately never materialised and for a while it looked like the naysayers would be proven right. But then, this summer, Felix swooped in and achieved what no-one else has managed - delivering a new-look pub in an extraordinarily short amount of time, despite one or two setbacks along the way.

Now, true to his word, he's ready to open next week and to let Brockley Central readers to put him to the test.

BC readers are cordially invited to join Felix on the evening of the 27th, the night before the pub formally opens (bookings for lunch from the 28th!). He writes:

I would like to extend a special invitation to all Brockley Central readers and would like to welcome everyone from 7pm.

There will be some delicious canapes 'on the house' and a paying bar.
I really hope that everybody likes and enjoys the new place.

See you there.

Kind regards

It would be great to see as many of you there as possible and see if we can get close to the numbers we saw at the Ladywell Tavern for Brockley Central's Brockley Max night during the summer.

Even if it is a Friday.

Car club pool

BC reader Alison is hoping to find some local people to help her start a new car club, with a company called Zip Car.

She says she's found it a struggle to find available slots with the local Street Car services and reckons that Zip Car's prices can be more competitive too.

She's been told by Zip Car that if she can demonstrate sufficient local demand, they will consider setting up in Brockley (they've not ventured further South East than Bermondsey so far), so she's looking for other interested readers to join her. If you want to be put in touch with Alison, please email us at the usual address and we'll connect you.

Brockley Bites: Community activism edition

A newly-launched news website East London Lines has picked up on the campaign against cuts to Brockley's train services, running an interview with campaign leader Richard Hibbert from the Forest Hill Society.

The site is produced by journalism students and staff at Goldsmiths and aims to be 'the virtual shadow of the new East London Line, connecting communities in virtual space, just as the new line connects them in physical space'.

BC wishes them all the best - and would be pleased to offer advice about covering local matters, if they're interested!


An upcoming event that East London Lines' eager newshounds might like to cover is the 6th meeting of the Brockley Assembly, which will take place on Monday 30th November from 7pm to 9pm at Leander Community Centre, Ship Street SE8 4DH.
Registration takes place from 6.45pm.

Local ward councillors Darren Johnson, Romayne Phoenix and Dean Walton will be present.

The Assembly has already allocated the majority of its annual £50,000 Mayor's Fund, and this latest meeting will vote on how to spend the remaining £12,500.
The projects which are up for consideration include:
*** A voluntary 'Time Bank' scheme;
*** Arts events as part of the Brockley Max festival;
*** A dance course for young people, to be run by the Laban Dance Centre.

Attendees will also hear a presentation from the police about how to set up a Neighbourhood Watch group, and will hear updates on other community activities in the area.

Rockin' around the Christmas tree

Here's an important date for everyone's diaries - the 3rd annual Brockley Christmas Market will take place on Coulgate St on December 12th, from noon to 6pm. A great opportunity to stock up on Christmas presents.

The market will host 35 to 40 stalls of gifts, food and presents, as well as a live music tent, a Santa's Grotto with treats and bell ringers.
The lights will be switched on on the Brockley Christmas tree, followed by carols.

BC looks forward to seeing you all there!

The market's organisers are looking for more stallholders; stalls cost £40 and this includes public liability insurance, stall, cover and lights. Between 10-15 stalls are left to be booked.
To reserve a stall, contact the Broca's Erin at eaessex or via the Broca cafe, or contact Brockley town center manager Julie Sutch on 020 8699 1064 or julie.sutch

Mud, glorious mud

The area outside the Barge, which BC complained about recently, has turned into the Somme.

All the paving has been taken up, leaving the phone box stranded in a sea of mud, and next to it lies a giant hole (dug to Australia?).

BC hopes this is a prelude to glorious restoration, but with council contractor Conways in charge, who can be sure?

In the meantime Brockley Rd pedestrians are left dodging the traffic as the plastic barriers are frequently blown into the road.

And the baffled drinkers in the Barge are barricaded into the pub ...

Thrills, chills & bellyaches

A well-insulated group of locals gathered at Brockley Station this morning to promote the ongoing campaign against cuts to Brockley's train services, by handing out leaflets produced by the Forest Hill Society and others*.

With the cross-party support of local politicians, the Forest Hill and Sydenham Societies have been running a campaign against proposed cuts to the service on one of Southern's busiest passenger routes. They have written to the Minister of Transport, both privately and in an open letter, requesting a meeting to discuss their concerns, and over 1,500 people have already signed the petition.

All the civic societies along the line are leafletting their local stations this week to urge people to take action. Brockley volunteers along with the Forest Hill and Sydenham Societies handed out thousands of leaflets today and HOPRA and the Telegraph Hill Society will leaflet Honor Oak Park and New Cross Gate tomorrow.

The changes:
*** In December, Southern Railways plans to cease service into Charing Cross station, terminating all services at London Bridge. Southern have tried to smuggle this change in without any announcement; there is nothing on their website regarding this change in service despite the fact that they claim to have consulted widely in their official submission to ORR, the rail regulator. This off-peak service on one of south London's busiest lines has significant demand and there was supposed to be further investigation before the service to Charing Cross was altered.

*** As if this wasn't bad enough, Southern Railways plan to reduce the number of trains which serve the Sydenham line in the afternoon and off-peak by making the Caterham and Sutton trains fast to Norwood Junction.
This means that the number of trains will be reduced from six trains an hour to four trains an hour once the East London Line starts operation in May 2010.

*** The third threat to our services comes from the possible re-instatement of the South London Line service from Victoria to either Bellingham or London Bridge.
One of the options currently being considered by TfL and Passenger Focus is to cancel our loop service from London Bridge to Victoria via Crystal Palace and replace it with one via Peckham Rye instead.

The vast majority of commuters gave the campaign a warm welcome, with around 70-80% of people taking the leaflets. Those listening to headphones were, perhaps unsurprisingly, by far the least interested. After a couple of hours, fingers and feet were definitely feeling the chill - but in all that time, only one person stepped up to bellyache against the campaign.

If you haven't done so, please sign the online petition here.

* = Brockley Society was invited to participate but has not responded due to the lack of a chair, according to campaign organisers.

PS. Thanks to Paul for the pic.

Community skipping: The answer to fly-tipping?

BC is somewhat behind the times on this one, given that it's been and gone, but we thought it was worth a mention anyway.

As a follow-up to Lewisham Council's research into the problem of fly-tipping, a free 'community skip' trial took place last weekend. The skip was placed on Eddystone Road for the disposal of large, bulky waste which should otherwise have been dropped off at the Landmann Way Recycling Centre, but all too often is simply dumped on the street.

Mattresses are a particular problem according to Tom Ashworth, a local chap studying for an MA in Design who has been working with the council to try to tackle the fly-tipping problem. 'An average month sees 1,500 [mattresses] dumped onto the streets of Lewisham,' he told BC.

Tom's 'community skip' idea sounds like an innovative way to respond to an irritating ongoing problem. The team are now evaluating the results and considering whether to roll the idea out to the rest of the borough; they're also working on other, related ideas.
BC hopes the skip makes another appearance on our streets.

Ladywell Christmas Market, December 12th

Brockley and Ladywell will both stage Christmas markets again this year and they are hopefully establishing themselves as part of the local calendar. Both will again take place on the same day, which is not intended to be a tradition, but the organisers of Brockley's market have had to change the date they originally planned. More about the Brockley's market soon, but here are some details for this year's Ladywell Christmas Market, courtesy of the Ladywell Village Improvement Group:

For those who don't already know, the market will take place at Railway Terrace Ladywell on Saturday 12th December from 10am to 4pm. We are pleased to announce that local youth worker and World Athletics Silver Medalist Conrad Williams will be switching on the Christmas tree lights this year and we will also have St Mary's Church Choir and Prendergast School Choir bringing some Christmas cheer.

We still have a couple of stalls left so if you know anyone who can supply hot or cold food, cakes, chocolates, arts and crafts or anything else fun and festive then please get in touch at

Stuart Thomas - earnest saves Christmas

Following the news that someone from Brockley (Honor Oak, Southwark, wherever) has been charged in connection with the Nightstalker case (very James Ellroy), despairing Brockley Central readers have been compiling Brockley's litany of shameful episodes. But the darkest hour is just before the dawn and now, Brockley has produced a champion to save Christmas from ad campaigns that "are smug, stomach-churning and delighted by their own existence."

A while back, at reader Michael's request, we posted a casting call for a campaign for Asda, which was looking for a "real person" to star in its Christmas ads. As recent events have shown, nowhere keeps it more real than Brockley.

We're used to firing these things off in to the ether and hearing nothing more about it, but on this occasion, Michael had the courtesy to tell us what happened:

Just wanted to send out a huge thankyou to all of those who got in touch about the Asda commercial. There was a great response and I have to say that I met a really wonderful eclectic group of locals. What was evident was the wide range of creative people living in the area. I met everything from TV producers to writers to dancers. It was very interesting. I'd also like to say a huge thanks to everyone at The Broca for being so accommodating, it was really useful to have a good base at which to meet people.

In the end Brockley resident Stuart Thomas was selected to be in the commercial. He has already shot it and he says he had a great time. It should be on TV over the next month or so as part of Asda's Christmas campaign.

Sincerity is not easy to pull off. Creative Mums' Nicola still bitterly recalls wasted hours posing with frozen food for another Asda campaign that never saw the light of day.

Many are called, few are chosen - let us now celebrate Stuart's achievement.

Local man arrested and charged in 'Nightstalker' case [updated]

Sky News has identified the man arrested in connection with more than 100 attacks against older people, dating back to the 1990s. The serial attacker became known as the Nightstalker and a man has now been arrested and charged in connection with the case [please note, there is some suggestion that the man in question actually lives over the border in Southwark]:

Sky News understands he is Delroy Grant, from Brockley, south-east London...

He was arrested in the early hours of Sunday morning following a pre-planned operation, the spokesman added.

Sky News understands the man was approached by police as he returned to a car in London's south-east.

Sources have also told Sky the suspect in custody had been questioned before "many years ago" over the attacks and eliminated from the investigation.

The Sun adds that:

For almost two decades the Night Stalker has preyed on the capital's elderly - breaking into homes in Dulwich, Orpington, Norwood, Downham, Lee, West Wickham, Bickley and Shirley.

Neighbours in Brockley, South East London - where Grant lives with his wife and sons Jason, 20, and Louis, 11 - were stunned at his arrest last night.

They described him as a "devoted" husband to Jehovah's Witness Jennifer - a former classroom assistant who for the past four years has been wheelchair-bound with multiple sclerosis.

The Telegraph now reports that:

The 52-year-old father was remanded in police custody after a brief hearing at Greenwich magistrates court. He is facing 22 charges including five rapes, six indecent assaults and 11 burglaries since 1992.

Given the sensitive nature of this case, please comment responsibly - we will moderate this thread closely. Thank you.

Vote to allocate Ladywell Assembly funding

Cllr Ute Michel writes:

Following the decisions made by the Ladywell Assembly on allocating the Mayor's Fund, there is also £9,000 to be spent from the annual Locality Fund for smaller scale projects. Eight proposals aiming to involve the community and improve the area have been submitted, and there is an online poll for residents to vote for their favourite projects.
The projects are:

1. Noticeboard cabinet for Brockley Cemetery
2. Street trees for Brockley Road
3. Equipment for Hilly Fields Community Bowling Green
4. Plaque to commemorate the original Lady Well
5. Contribution to Brockley Max Festival
6. Social enterprise “Vessel Works” for young people
7. Ladywell Walking Tour leaflet
8. Contribution to Saturday School

Train cuts: Help needed with leafleting

The 'No To Train Cuts' campaign is appealing for help in handing out leaflets at New Cross Gate, Brockley, Honor Oak Park, Forest Hill and Sydenham stations between 7am and 10am on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday this coming week (presumably which date they choose will depend on how many volunteers they get). Their aim is to make more local people aware of the planned cuts to the evening services from London Bridge.

So far nearly fifteen hundred people have signed the online petition, but more support and pressure is needed.

Anyone who can help out is asked to email richard to let him know which dates you're available and which stations you could cover.

I Spy: Wet & windy edition

This week we're having a taste of local history - but no Googling is allowed for this one! Go on then, where do you think it is?

Up the Line - Remembrance

We first heard about Up the Line a couple of months ago, when John McKiernan emailed us with his outline proposal - asking what we thought of it. It sounded amazing, but an almost ridiculously ambitious project to try and pull together with virtually no money. And that was before we realised he was planning to do it this year - rather than next - giving himself only weeks to pull it off.

What followed was a flurry of activity that demonstrates John's energy and tenacity and the talent that can be found locally. The event that finally took place was far more wonderful than we'd been able to imagine it.

For those unable to attend, here are some pictures from Up the Line:

All pictures taken by Kirsty Leah Cole Copyright 2009.

Here's a message from John himself:

It was a proud night for Brockley and Ladywell with hundreds braving the rain to walk through the cemeteries. The children's lanterns were beautiful and everyone appeared to have had a wonderful and memorable experience.

Hairy at the beginning as the rain all afternoon caused a lot of problems and an amusing phone call to B and Q in Greenwich asking after 4 gazebos in November? The lady at the store thought it was a crank call.

Over 60 people worked hard for free over the day to get the event up and running. There was a 10 minute delay at the start but we got the hitches sorted out and then event went smoothly. The local safer neighbourhood Police team looked fantastic in their full uniforms and the Lewisham cemetery team worked very hard all day, evening and after to ensure the site was safe and clean. Colin Burgess in charge of the cemetery team was instrumental throughout insuring the event could be held.

The Rivoli was it's normal wonderful self and a chance for many people to actually see it for the first time.

Thanks very much to all involved - there is already talk of a bigger event next year. If there is to be one it will need to be funded first.

Oyster for Brockley in January?

Mainline train stations around London are set to introduce Oyster card readers as early as January, Canary Wharf newspaper The Wharf reports.

The card readers have been installed at Brockley Station for some months now, awaiting a co-ordinated launch across the network.

A spokesman for Southeastern Trains told The Wharf: 'It's on stream for January 2010. We're up to date with the installation of software. There's a bit of fine tuning involved, but we've got the facilities at most stations to top up Oyster cards for journeys.
'It's going to happen all in one go. It wouldn't work otherwise.'

With thanks to Blackheath Bugle for spotting this story.

Art for art's sake?

Lewisham Council is seeking to pep up some of the borough's empty shop fronts by turning them into temporary art galleries and film production offices.

This is just the kind of imaginative, low-cost idea that BC reckons the borough needs more of. Yes, you read that right - we're actually praising the council for a change.

Can any readers suggest a likely location in SE4 which could do with a bit of sprucing up?

Potential exhibitors and exhibitees can find out more by getting in touch with Lewisham Council's arts special projects officer on 020 8314 7733.

South London train service cuts: A way forward?

London mayor Boris Johnson has met with transport minister Sadiq Khan to discuss the planned cuts to south London's train services.

As a result, the minister has promised to consider Transport for London's forthcoming report which will set out alternatives to the cuts.

The study, by TfL and London Travelwatch, will look at 30 options. A shortlist will be produced over the next few weeks and discussed with London Assembly members, local MPs and councils, before the most feasible are published in a final report in the New Year.
The Mayor’s Office and the Department for Transport will then consider the options and decide on a way forward.

There's been a lot of hoo-ha over whether responsibility for the cuts lies with the Department for Transport or the Mayor, but it is heartening to see some joint working on this vital issue. BC hopes that all involved can sort the problem out and save our train services.

Thanks to Sue Luxton for drawing our attention to this story.

Convoys Wharf plans to be resubmitted in November

The most recent designs for Convoys Wharf in Deptford reports that Deptford's most important redevelopment project (on Lewisham's little scrap of riverside land) is "back on track."

It writes:

Plans for the £700m 3,500-home Convoys Wharf scheme in Deptford, south-east London, which floundered during the downturn, are back on track, as its new developer prepares to submit revised plans this month. Chinese corporation Hutchison Whampoa, which bought the 16ha site from News International in 2008, will make only minor amendments to the original 2005 masterplan by Richard Rogers Partnership.

One of the biggest developments in the Thames Gateway, the plan included three towers of between 26 and 40 storeys, nearly 338,000m2 of residential development, 73,000m2 of offices and 7,000m2 of retail. The revised proposal will need to be approved by the mayor of London...

The brownfield land was originally used by News International to receive imported paper. It is on the site of a former royal dockyard used to build ships for King Henry VIII’s navy.

The scheme in its current form is arguably Lewisham's most coherent and exciting and we hope that the decision to drop Rogers doesn't lead to signifcant design changes.

Mess nights - a message from the Brockley Mess

Tim from the Brockley Mess has been in touch with an update from the popular cafe - as ever, we're happy to pass on the message to Brockley Central readers. So here he is:

Firstly, we'd like to thank everyone for their patronage over the past couple of months. Positive comments in the cafe and on the blog have been hugely encouraging, and the less favourable ones have given us food for thought; we hope we will continue to improve.

From day one there has been a tidal wave of opinion that we should open in the evenings. We were always going to do this but didn't want to run before we could walk, so to speak.

Now that we have found our feet a bit, I am happy to announce that we will be dangling a few toes into the murky waters of evening opening. So, from now until further notice, we will be open all day until 11pm on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Our full opening times will now be:
Monday-Wednesday: 9am - 6pmThursday-Saturday: 9am-11pmSunday: 10am-6pm
We are offering a short, snacky evening menu featuring some of our most popular daytime dishes and some delicious new things for you to try. We have a good and very keenly-priced range of beers, wines and spirits. And we also now have music! If these late opening evenings prove to be a success, we will very likely start opening later throughout the week.
In other news, the gallery space at the back of the cafe now has a name - cueB. Over the coming months we will be exhibiting a number of different artists, and also giving the good people of Brockley the chance to see their work on the walls - more about this soon. This week the gallery changes from the excellent Thion exhibition which we have staged since opening to an exhibition by the artist Beatrice Poggio entitled Women of the Wood. Please come down this Thursday evening, 12th November, 7-9pm for the not-so-private view.
For those who don't know, we have a Facebook group and a website on the way.

And finally, a date for your diary. Please don your finest Val Doonican christmas jumper and come to our Brockley Xmess Party on Saturday 12th December.

I can't tell you exactly what we have planned yet (because I'm not entirely sure myself) but there will definitely be mulled wine, mince pies, music and merriment into the small hours.
All for now
Tim Arnold, Brockley Mess

Children's dance classes

BC reader Nicola would like to know if there are any children's dance classes in Brockley.

We know of "Bounce and Boogie" in New Cross and Tippee Toes in East Dulwich, but if you have any recommendations, please share them here.

Bounce & Boogie
Creative and Street Dance Classes
The Old Library
116 - 118 New Cross Road
SE14 5BA

Tippee Toes
All Fired Up
Goose Green
34 East Dulwich Road
SE22 9AX

Lewisham town centre re-development: Public meeting

The planned re-development of Lewisham town centre has become a hot talking point in recent months.

The scheme involves two linked developments, one on Loampit Vale and the other known as Lewisham Gateway. BC believes that both now have planning permission.

Residents opposing the developments, under the banner of Central Lewisham Action Group, have organised a public meeting on Thursday 12th November, at 7:30pm at the Tabernacle, Algernon Road, SE13 7AT.

Speakers announced so far include Lib Dem councillor for Lewisham Central Andrew Milton and Fran Rogers of Transition Brockley.

All those interested in the town centre's future are invited to attend and participate in the debate.

Thanks to BC regular and aspiring local politician Max Calo for originally blogging this info.

Up The Line, November 11th - Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery

Organiser John McKiernan writes:

The waft of a solo violin across a dark, dimly lit path of the cemetery, as yet another poet recalls the words of a soldier, bombarded by bombs and bullets...

A film of men marching happily to war becomes discernible among the silhouetted trees, while an actor recounts the fear of life in a trench.

Welcome to 'Up The Line', a most beautiful and poignant experience marking the sacrifices of World War One.

This free twilight event will take place on Armistice night, 11th November 2009 and will be a short but stirring walk through a cemetery of performers and WW1 monuments.

The evening will give people of all ages an opportunity to reflect on the sacrifices made during times of war and discuss the experience afterwards in the famous Rivoli Ballroom.


You can arrive anytime between 7.15pm and 8.00pm, with the walk lasting approximately 20 minutes in total.

There will be a children's lantern procession at 7.30pm starting from the Brockley Gate.


Brockley and Ladywell Cemetery

After Event:

The Famous Rivoli Ballroom, 350 Brockley Road SE4 2BY (until 11pm) This is an outdoor event that will take place regardless of weather conditions.


You can reach the start of the walk from the Brockley Rd/Ivy Rd Gate (SE4 2QY) or the Ladywell Gate at Brockley Grove/Ivy Rd, SE13

Buses P4, 122, 171, 172, 484
Trains Crofton Park, Ladywell, Brockley, DLR Lewisham

Please wear sturdy shoes, appropriate warm clothing and please bring a torch. Cemetery chapel will be open for reflection and lighting of candles


I Spy again

As per usual, whoever first names the spot wins our hearty esteem. Whereabouts in the local area is this mythic creature to be found?

Brockley Safer Neighbourhoods

The Autumn newsletter from the Brockley Safer Neighbourhoods team discusses the past and future priorities for tackling crime and anti-social behaviour, listing past achievements and new challenges.


- Fly-tipping

The team worked with Lewisham council environmental team to tackle this problem and identify those involved. Offenders received fines through the post along with photographic evidence. The SNT and the Lewisham Environment team have also set up roadblocks to target vehicles involved. On two separate dates over 100 commercial vehicles were stopped and some received fines for carrying waste while not having the correct documentation. One vehicle was taken off the road permanently due to its poor condition and the driver had received many complaints about fly tipping over the past year. PC Poynter said: “This shows how effective it is to work with partners and the team are hoping this action has put a stop to fly tipping days.”

- The Clare Estate

The SNT has executed warrants in the Clare Estate with successful results.
More patrols and an increase in intelligence-led tactics have made an impact in reducing criminality in this area.

- Brookmill and Ashmead Roads

Increased patrols and stop and searches in the Brookmill Road/park and Ashmead Road areas has made a difference to the levels of anti-social behaviour.

New priorities

The current ward priorities set by the Ward Panel in October for the Brockley Safer Neighbourhoods Team are as follows:

- Youth Engagement in schools and colleges
- Drug dealing in Luxmore Gardens
- Vehicle and burglary crime in the Tressillian Road, Wickham Road, Breakspears Road and Tyrwhitt Road areas

- Recruitment of more Neighbourhood Watch Schemes within the Ward

With thanks to Cllr Walton for highlighting the news.

Hereafter in Nunhead Cemetery

“Sometimes if you want to see a change for the better, you have to take things into your own hands.”
- Clint Eastwood

"I know things about pigeons."
- Clint Eastwood

We have had a few questions about the filming taking place in local cemeteries. BC regular "M" reckons Nunhead Cemetery was taken over for Clint Eastwood's new film Hereafter (a claim supported by the Popbitch forum, for what that's worth), about which Variety says this:

Matt Damon will star in "Hereafter," Clint Eastwood's next producing-directing project for Warner Bros., with lensing on the thriller set to begin this fall.

For Eastwood, the project's a move into supernatural territory. Warner Bros. is keeping the logline under wraps beyond describing the project as a thriller in the vein of "The Sixth Sense."

Eastwood's last film, Gran Torino, was about a gang-ridden suburb locked in a spiral of decline and racial tension. So he's obviously come to the area to cheer himself up and get a few pointers from Steve Bullock, Mayor-to-former-Mayor.

Brockley: There's an App for That

BC reader Mungaloid has posted this in the "suggest a topic" thread:

Thought Brockley residents may be interested in this latest Apple iPhone advert from the back of Shortlist this morning (check out the 'Unlike London' app description for a wee mention of The Rivoli).

Which begs the question... what would a Brockley Central app do?

Brockley Central readers invited to preview night at the new-look Talbot

Felix, the new landlord at The Talbot, has been true to his word and delivered another progress update on the rennovation of The Talbot pub.

We mentioned to him that we organise the occasional drinks night for BC readers and that it would be good to organise one there once the pub's open. He's gone one better and offered to stage the Brockley Central drinks night before the pub's formally open - giving us the chance to try the pub out before its formal opening.

It's a fantastic offer and one which we'll be bringing you more news of soon, but for now, here's his update:

As you can imagine things are heating up towards the opening date. I am sure that no-one will be surprised that we are a little delayed. We were originally aiming to be open next week, but it now looks like we will be three weeks late. I will confirm an actual opening date next week but for the time being I would leave your diaries free for the back end of week commencing the 23rd November.

I would like to extend an invitation to all Brockley Central readers to an exclusive preview opening just for locals. I am sure that you will all be keen to have a look before everyone else comes and hope that you will forgive any teething problems on our first night of trading as the re-incarnated Talbot.

The project has not been without its difficulties; In September we had a break-in where all of the copper piping and cabling was ripped out and taken for scrap. This wouldn’t have been too much of a problem had the stuff not already been installed and laid. We came back to work on a Monday morning with a cellar full of water and more than a week of work lost. A couple of young lads tried to get in last weekend but soon realized that the new alarm system was armed and that 4 external CCTV cameras were keeping a beady eye on them. Smile! You’re on candid camera.
On a more positive note, we have managed to employ some friendly local people to come and help run the place and we are all very excited about meeting you all when you come in for the first time. We really hope that you will all like the place and enjoy it regularly as a local pub should be.
I’ll let everyone know the date for the preview night as soon as I know.

The Orchard - a new bar for Brockley

Back in the summer, we met a guy called Ed at the Brockley Central music night at the Ladywell Tavern. He revealed that he was working on plans to open a bar in Brockley, somewhere near the station.

A decent bar in Brockley Cross, offering an alternative to the Brockley Barge and the mysterious Gulens, has been something Brockley Central has dreamed of, since the site began. However, we'd heard similar things from people before that had never materialised, so we refused to allow ourselves to get too excited. Ed was a great bloke and seemed to know what he was doing, but we didn't think much more about it until we got an email from him a couple of months ago.

He revealed that he'd made progress and was close to signing a lease, but asked us not to say anything more about it, because he didn't want to disappoint people if it all fell through. Hence this frustratingly oblique post.

Today, we're delighted to be able to bring you this message from Ed and his partner Emily. Enjoy:

We have lived in Brockley Cross for a few years now and have always wanted a place we could enjoy a good pint or decent glass of wine without having to travel all the way to Greenwich or Blackheath- we wanted somewhere we could walk to. It was because of our frustration at not having somewhere like this to hang out that we decided to do it ourselves.

We are really excited to be opening a Bar and Kitchen where Aquarium briefly existed on Harefield Road. As local residents we know how important it is to reflect the local area and are really proud to be part of the Brockley business community which already houses some fantastic places to eat, get a coffee and shop.

We look forward to serving up some great wines, cocktails, and beers amongst much more, in a relaxed environment that is comfortable, stylish and homely.

We are refurbishing the property and are looking to open at the end of November/beginning of December depending on how quickly we can turn everything around.

We have decided to name the bar The Orchard. If you look around you can still see some old trees left over from the orchards that were grown here in Brockley where the property now is today.
We are relatively new to this but firmly believe we have an understanding of what Brockley wants, and needs, and really hope we can fit in alongside the existing businesses and new ventures that are also popping up around us.
You'll probably see us working on the property over the coming weeks and you'll be the first to know when we have an open date. We look forward to seeing you all there in time for some Christmas cheer!
Edmund and Emily

Crazy paving

Brockley locals well know that the area's pavements are far from perfect. But the state of the flooring outside the Barge has become extreme even by SE4 standards.

The cracked, uneven paving slabs were unconvincingly patched up with a few splodges of tarmac recently, and barriers erected around the worst parts:

And now some fencing has appeared, suggesting that further action may perhaps be forthcoming at some stage:

BC can only hope that this happens quickly, as the scene is currently even more of an eyesore than usual.

Brockley's Twitter Essentials

At the suggestion of @charlipea we have created a list of "must follows" for Brockley tweeters.

There are currently 21 feeds on the list, including local tweet-savvy businesses, politicians, groups and institutions. If we've missed anyone important, please let us have your suggestions.

And of course, please follow Brockley Central here.

South London Line back from the brink

Aspiring LibDem MP for Lewisham Deptford Tam Langley has updated her blog with the latest correspondence from London Rail about the prospects for the South London Line. It's a long letter, but in essence it says that the line (which would serve Crofton Park) could be back on the cards - which is a good deal more encouraging than TfL's verdict that there was no practical or economic case for the line.

Here are the key passages:

Given the volume of requests to consider direct links to London Bridge, it has been agreed that TfL will undertake some further work to review the feasibility of retaining the South London Line (one of the long-listed options) with Network Rail and DfT, before completing the scoring and short-listing process.

In light of the additional time it will take to complete this work, we are now proposing to hold the first meeting on 24 November (as opposed to October as stated in our initial letter). We will report back on the outcome of the above work at this meeting.

Brockley Advent Windows

In December, Brockley's community gallery, Tea Leaf Arts will celebrate its first birthday. To mark the occasion, they will be staging a unique event - Brockley Advent Windows:

Join in the fun of counting down to Christmas. A window of a local business will open every day between 1st and 24th December, revealing a variety of artwork, exploring a range of media on the theme of ‘Gift’.

The last window will be opened at Tea Leaf Arts on December 24th, when you can join the artists for mulled wine and mince pies from 2-5pm. The windows will be displayed until January 5th 2010.

That's all they're saying for now, but watch this space.

Supermarket v The Broca Food Market

We've not written much about the Broca Food Market (209-211 Mantle Road) since it opened, but this weekend has given us an excuse to redress the balance.

By virtue of a mixture of internet supermarket shopping and a growing range of local shops, we've managed to eliminate the weekend trip to the supermarket from our weekly routine. But this weekend, on a last-minute search for pumpkins, we tried the Tesco in Lewisham. They had mountains of pumpkin-shaped plastic things, but no actual pumpkins.

Back in Brockley, the Broca was just putting the finishing touches to its "buy your pumpkins here" sign, just as we walked through the door. We bought two and 6 large free-range eggs, which are around 50p cheaper than the equivalent sold in Tesco in Lewisham.

So in our impromptu and unscientific test of price and availability - supposedly a supermarket's two strongest cards - Broca beats Tesco.

RIP Paul Rowe

Many of you may have seen the little shrine of candles and flowers outside the Toad's Mouth cafe on the corner of Brockley Rd and Coulgate St. This is to commemorate the death of local motorcyclist Paul Rowe, 44, who (as previously noted on an earlier BC comments thread) was killed there a couple of weeks ago in a collision with a car.

According to Transpontine, Mr Rowe was "a father of four children ... a presenter on Genesis FM known as DJ Shinehead, and involved with the Saxon reggae sound system, run by his brother Dennis. He went to Kelvin Grove Primary School and Roger Manwood secondary."

A female motorist has been arrested and bailed, and police have put up notices on Brockley Rd appealing for any information witnesses might be able to provide. If you know anything, please call them on 020 8285 1574.

In commenting on this thread, please note that we will be particularly picky about what you're allowed to say due to the possibility of future legal proceedings.

In da social club - Transition Town

With so much drama in the l-b-c [Lewisham Borough Council]
Its kinda hard bein-a snoop for the double-T
But they, somehow, some way
Keep comin up with funky ass shit like every single day

FLUX CLUB, Sat 14th November 7pm-1am, Brockley Social Club, £6
Hosted by Transition Town Brockley

It's gettin hot in here, so let's swish all our clothes.

Get ready to transform your old world into a new one, through magic, music, miracle and muse! Bring your old stuff and let the magic of El Mago Javier transform it into something new.

Funk/rock outfit Grand Illusion will have you swinging from the rafters, while Djs Saffrolla, Mr Burns and Bearjamm ply you with Balkan Beats, Swing, Funky Latin, HipHop, Breakbeat and more...

Transition Towns are on our streets, trying to consume
Less carbon dioxide, by insulating homes

Prepare to encounter the Transition Wheel of Fortune, The Forever Tree and ideas so transformative you may even go home a different person...

With thanks to Snoop, Nelly and Warren G - the original Transition Towners.